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Salary Cap Sports: Has it Worked?

The salary cap for professional sports has always been a hotly debated topic. Many of the people in favor of the salary cap have argued that it is a way of leveling the playing field for all competing teams and gives even the low budget, small market teams a chance at competing for a championship. Opponents of the salary cap think that it is a way for owners to keep money out of the hands of the players and keep it for themselves. Some of the questions I will explore in this article include: Has parity been affected due to the implementing or exclusion of a salary cap? What teams have benefited the most or the least from the cap situation? Should the cap be expanded or reduced? I will look at other aspects as well. Buckle up.

How This Began

This research began because of my interest in how the four major sports league in North America, as well as college football and basketball, and my curiosity in the variance of champions in those six sports. In order to get a data set, I had to set a parameter for where to start. I set this by looking at what point did the 4 major sports start to look the most like they do today. I determined this to be the merger of the NBA and ABA in 1976. I chose this because at this point, the Super bowl and NFL had been established for some time, the NHL was coming of age and becoming more like the game we watch today, and baseball was thriving. Basically, it’s the modern age of sports start point.

I first looked at the parity in each league. How often was a unique team winning the title? All leagues have around 20 teams at the start of the data set and have expanded tenfold since. I knew some would be low and some would be high percentages based on prior knowledge of champions. I simply divided the number champions in each respective league by the number of seasons. Here were the results:

  • NBA: 14 teams in 40 season = 35%
  • NHL: 16 teams in 39* seasons = 41%
  • NFL: 16 teams in 40 seasons = 40%
  • MLB: 21 teams in 39* seasons = 53%
  • CFB: 20 teams in 40 seasons = 50%
  • CBB: 19 teams in 40 seasons = 48%

* league with cancelled championship due to work stoppage

I was not surprised to find that the NBA had the least amount of variance. The Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, and Bulls have dominated the landscape in terms of titles since the merger. The next two lowest leagues in terms of title variance were the NFL and the NHL respectively. The NHL saw a huge increase in variance in the 90s as the NFL has seen little variance difference. The New England Patriots have won 5 Super bowls since 1976, the most of any team. that accounts for almost 20% of all the NFL titles. The Broncos, Steelers, 49ers, Redskins and Giants have all won at least 3 Super bowls in that same time span.

On the contrary, The MLB, and major college sports have seen the most variance since the NBA-ABA merger. This was a major surprise to me. These sports are notorious for top heavy, power teams or leagues with repeat champions in conference play. Because of these stats, I then went back into the spreadsheets to look at before and after for leagues with a salary cap in order to see if the variance in the NHL, NFL, and NBA have improved since the implementation of the cap. Here’s what the numbers looked like:

Before Cap

  • NBA: 6 teams from 1977-84 =  75%
  • NHL: 11 teams from 1977-2004= 40%
  • NFL: 7 teams from 1977-94 = 43%

After Cap

  • NBA: 10 teams from 1984 to present= 30%, -45%
  • NHL: 7 teams from 2005 to present = 53%, +13%
  • NFL: 14 teams from 1994 to present= 58 %, +15%

The NBA has clearly trended in the wrong direction since the implementation of the salary cap. I will grant them them small sample size of 8 years for the “before cap” data set but when we expand that out, the parity decreases. The Boston Celtics dominated the early landscape of the NBA. Parity did not exist in the NBA in the early days. The NHL and NFL are trending in the right direction. The NHL has a very young salary cap and it is arguably the most unforgiving one in all of sports. It has allowed teams who have never won a cup before (Carolina, Anaheim, LA) or teams who have not won in decades ( Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh) to be competitive with the likes of Detroit and Montreal. The NFL data is skewed because of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, both generational, hall of fame NFL icons who have led the Patriots to an ungodly stat line since 2001. It will be interesting to see the NFL landscape after both or one of them retires. The NFL has trended to more parity even with these two legends leading the way so I expect it to increase as time goes on.

Why the Cap?

Based on the numbers, the cap is not a guarantee that parity will increase significantly. Why then, does the cap exist? The answer is the owners. A salary cap is, exactly what it sounds like, to a populist, a way to suppress wages. Without a strong players union, owners keep salary caps so they can not pay market value for a superstar. In baseball, with no cap Giancarlo  Stanton and David Price command contract upwards of $30 million a year because teams are not only paying for their on field services, but increased promotional revenue as a result of them being on their teams. Tom Brady, Sidney Crosby and Lebron James have their sports earning potential capped on their respective teams and, without question, would command similar salaries if the cap was taken out of those sports. For the owners, a cap makes the most business sense and it dupes the public into thinking the league is aiming for more parity.

It will be interesting to see where the trends go in the future. As of this writing on May 23, 2018, The NBA has only teams who have won before in their final four and the NHL has at least a 50% of having a first time winner with Vegas in the final.

Thanks for reading,

Foz

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The Pats Fan Roller Coaster: A Story of Super bowl 49

 

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On the surface, being a 25 year old New England Patriots fan will get you no sympathy from fans of every other sports team across the four major sports in North America. Since I was ten years old, my favorite team has had one head coach, one starting quarterback (save for an injury in 2008 and a 4 game suspension in 2016), and have only missed the playoffs twice (2002 and 2008). I will never complain about supporting this team, but it is not without epic emotional swings during this big games. Super Bowl 49 was the prime example of this. Here’s how the game unfolded in my parent’s living room that fateful night.

Tom Brady INT at Seattle 10, 1st Quarter 0-0: The most uncharacteristic throw I’ve ever seen given the stakes with Brady. Red Zone picks are what the Brandon Weeden’s of the world do, not the greatest QB of all time. Still a lot of time left but my god what a dumb dumb dumb dumb throw. Would have really put Seattle up against it.

Brady to Gronk TD, late 2nd Quarter, Pats 14-6: Seattle covered Gronk with some fat LB split out to the sideline! Pats might hang a hundo on this team! Let’s Go!!!!!!(Brady voice).

Wilson to Mathews TD, super late 2nd Quarter, 14-14: Kyle Arrington should have been cut 3 years ago (but with a lot less nicer language mixed in between). Seattle can double dip now and I’m starting to panic.

Wilson to Baldwin TD, late 3rd Quarter, 24-14 Seattle: I need and adult…

Brady to Amendola TD mid 4th, 24-21 Seattle: Get a stop, get a stop, get a stop, get a stop, get a stop, get a stop!!! The tease is getting too much now. Patriots clearly setting up to break my heart again. Anyone else you’d rather have in this situation than Brady though?

Brady to Edelman TD, Late 4th, 28-24 Pats: IS THERE ANYONE ELSE YOU’D RATHER HAVE! THAT’S MY QUARTERBACK! It would suck to be the fan of another team right now. Brady Brady Brady! (oh yeah, get a freakin stop D!)

Kearse catch, super late 4th, 28-24 Pats: Never meant to get Lombardi IV I guess. 2007 all over again. How much torture can happen. 2005 Super bowl seems like a lifetime ago. Sun questionable to rise in the AM.

Butler INT super duper late 4th, 28-24 Pats: I blacked out and fell off my couch and onto the floor. I still do not remember how I got face down on the floor but my first thoughts after I came too were: “S*** we are way to backed up! How we gonna kneel?! Gotta give them the hard count Tom! Give them the Hard COUNT!” I’v coached football too long to even enjoy the INT for the amazing play it was. I was too concerned with taking the knee to end it. Was sure something would go wrong. My buddy calls me in the moment reacting similar to me. Utter and pure shock.

Brady gets them to jump, Bruce Irvin gets DQ’d Pats win 28-24: The moment Michael Bennett jumped offside was the single happiest moment of my watching the Patriots since Vinatieri’s kick to beat the Rams. Pats win, Super bowl champs against all odds. Tom Brady is the greatest of all time. Felt like I didn’t breathe for 4 straight hours.

This is not by any means a unique experience. I’m positive every other Patriots fan went through this same emotional swing during the game. I never in a thousand years thought I would experience such emotion with this team. My first memories of Patriots’ games were my dad having to find them on the bunny ears with the old TV in the early 90s because they wouldn’t sell out home games and put the game on TV. I had to watch Desmond Howard and Reggie White destroy any hope of a Super Bowl I thought we had in 97. I had to deal with Pete Carroll taking a Super Bowl team and driving them into the ground. Even in 2001, the Pats were 5-5 and using a backup QB before they went on this historic run. I wouldn’t trade this team for anything in the world. Remember when you’re watching the game Sunday between Atlanta and New England that the Pats’ fan base may be insufferable at times, but it’s because our peaks have been as tall as our valley’s have been deep. We live on the extreme ends of the spectrum. Our sports town has had its collective heart’s ripped out by giving up home runs to end seasons, giving up 3-0 series and 3-0 game 7 leads, and miracle catches. We’ve been on the right side of all those things as well. I’m sure Sunday will be no different but, as I wrote for my dad before I went to bed after searching for Championship t-shirts all night after Super Bowl 49, “Thanks for making me a fan of this team!”

@Fozberry64

NFL Divisional Round WRs

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Things to consider when rostering WRs in your million dollar lineups for the divisional round

  1. Players the target monster is coming for- A few good low priced options this week that pivot off the the many studs still remaining. I’m looking right at Cole Beasley and Taylor Gabriel. First on Beasley. The Packers tipped their hand last week vs the Giants on how they want to defend the big play WR. They were constantly doubling Odell Beckham with a corner up and a safety over the top, meaning the giants had to go to their second and third options. Those options on Dallas are much more effective than Shepard and Cruz. I expect the Packers to keep this tactic and hope their thin secondary can cover Beasley, the Cowboys slot receiver. GB has struggled at this all year. Also, Dallas is likely to be playing from behind and may not be as patient with the run game if they go down early. Look for Beasley to see a lot of action this week.
  2. Taylor Gabriel- Kind of similar to the Beasley factor but with a twist. Sherman will likely be shadowing Julio as he did at the end of the last matchup between these two teams early on in the year. Gabriel is an interesting tourney play as he may not be the most lucrative option, but at home, in the dome, with no Earl Thomas on the back end for Seattle to keep everything organized, Gabriel could be primed for a big day and see more of the ball than usual. Again, this game looks like a track meet from my perspective so get some explosive exposure on the Falcons side of things.
  3. Davante Adams- Jordy has just been ruled out. Adams has been Rodgers second go to guy (much to the chagrin of Randall Cobb owners this year like myself). Adams should get some time with the target monster this week in Nelson’s absence. GB has little to no run game and the way to attack Dallas is through the air. Proceed with caution though. Mike Mccarthy is always liable to throw the dampest of wet blankets on your fantasy plans by either letting the Geronimo Allisons or Jeff Janis'(Jani?) of the world steal TDs for no reason.
  4. Deep (threat) Sleeper option-Jermaine Kearse is a good low price option to get some talented exposure on an offense that should need to score a lot and has a decent matchup.
  5. The ‘No Duh’ option- Antonio Brown- as we saw last week. Guy can take it the distance no matter where he catches the ball. Need a little exposure of the best WR in the NFL right now. KC pass defense be damned, AB is as matchup proof as anyone.
  6. The “double dip” player of the week- Tyreek Hill- Not only should the target monster be on him this week but low temps in windy KC mean low punts for him to return. Anything kicked at him this week will be returnable due to the coverage team not having ample time to get down the field because of the low hang times. Hill is a huge double dip candidate and if you’re in a large GPP, I love the Hill, KC D double dip potential. Pittsburgh and Brown is in play for that reason as well. I’m almost willing to guarantee that at least one of these scenarios plays out

 

Follow me on Twitter: @fozberry64

NFL Divisional Round DFS RBs

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Running Back notes to consider when creating your million dollar lineups this weekend

  1. Le’veon Bell is a generational talent- Not breaking news but it’s worth saying again and again. Bell has made a mockery of the competition when he has been on the field. The stats are very much in his favor as he always surpases 150 yard from scrimmage but your eyes can back up these stats. He is the most patient back in the league. Bell never forces his carries into the pile. He waits and waits and waits until he has a crease and explodes through it. He’s the anti-Trent Richardson. He’s what Laurence Moroney always wanted to be with his dancing until the hole opens up. Difference is, Bell has vision that his unique only to him. Obviously Bell is chalky and his ownership will be super high but you need to have exposure. Road teams always get this thing in their head where they feel they need to run, especially with the cold weather forecast for Kansas City. Expect Bell to have a day.
  2. Blount Week-  Bell’s former team mate and joy ride buddy Legarrette Blount has gameflow going for him this week as a 16.5 point favorite over Houston. As I wrote yesterday, look for him to get numerous red zone and goal line carries early and then clock killing carries late in a cold Foxboro Saturday night.
  3. Hard to find- The rest of the slate is tough to call. Gameflow will not be favoring Seattle as I expect them to be in a track meet in the Georgia Dome. Freeman and Coleman are also a tough call (Freeman>Coleman). Atlanta will look to use their backs in the passing game so target them for your mid to low priced options. Rest of the slate is brutal. Elliot could be a nice contrarian play against GBs top run defense. Game flow will hurt Elliot if the game goes like I think it will. Hard to roster Ware/West with the given injury concerns to Ware combined with a Pittsburgh front that has been playing very well.

NFL Divisional Round DFS Things to Remember 1/12/17

I will never admit to be an expert on anything. I’ve never won thousands on DFS or have been published or have won awards. All I try to do is read as much as I can and watch as much as I can relating to football. Looking at more than stats has gotten me above the cash line in most of my DFS contests this year. There are just some things you can set your watch to that have either simple or no numbers backing them up. My favorite stat to trash is the QB fourth quarter comeback stat. Yes it is true good QBs usually can lead their team to victories when down late in the game when lesser QBs wouldn’t BUT, that same QB probably had something to do with the team being in the hole in the first place. It’s much like a baseball pitcher walking the bases loaded and then getting a strikeout and a double play ball to end the inning. Anyway, here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your million dollar roster for daily fantasy this week.

  1. Andy Reid off a bye week- It’s no secret but for those that don’t know, Andy Reid is 16-2 coming off a bye week in his coaching career. He normally has his team ready to go in these situations. His players did get the entire week off last week which may become a factor. Questionable decision by Reid to interrupt the team’s routine with so much at stake. This isn’t atypical for coaches to do during the regular season so Reid might be staying consistent in that respect.
  2. Rookie Starters in DAL- Dallas enters the playoffs as the NFC’s number one seed and has to face a red hot Green Bay Packers team. Many people will be looking at GBs bad defensive numbers and target the Dallas passing game and of course Elliot. It is worth considering that rookie QBs and even RBs can be hard to trust, even at home, in their first playoff games. Dallas as a whole is very inexperienced in these big situations and needed a gift from the officials to win in the playoffs 2 years ago with an arguably more talented team vs a much lesser opponent. Moral of the story is you can roster your Elliot and your DAL passing game but you are putting your faith in extremely unproven commodities against the hottest team in football.
  3. Blount week in Foxboro- The outcome of the game between HOU and NE isn’t in question this week. Who to target for the Pats is always the hardest thing to determine and this week is no different. After carefully thinking about how this game is going to play out, you can feel good about some Blount exposure this week. Houston comes in with the top ranked defense in the NFL. Houston is a good defense for sure but they are far from a dominant defense. They will give up plenty of points to NE this week. The Pats have limited big play ability and will have plenty of opportunities from in close as they did during the regular season. Expect plenty of goal line touches and clock killing touches from the Patriots heavy hitting back Legarrette Blount. I’m going to be all over him this week.
  4. The Dan Quinn Factor- I was going to regurgitate the whole rookie factor in playoffs thing with Dan Quinn being the only first time playoff coach left in the playoffs but let’s look at it differently.  Dan Quinn is the former defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks. His defense spent it’s time defending Russell Wilson in practice every day for the entire  two years he and Russell were there together. In his one previous matchup, the Falcons lost in Seattle by 2 points and scored 21 points in the third quarter. He knows how Pete Carroll would want to attack him. This will make for an interesting scheme game within the football game. Seattle might have more pure talent than the Falcons and Carroll is a professional football coach (he has a clue) so Quinn has his work cut out for him. You can target Falcons passing game with confidence because of the falcons strong knowledge of how Seattle wants to operate. Don’t expect big leads either way so there will be incentive for Ryan to throw.  (Insert obligatory Matt Ryan at home or Matt Ryan in playoffs take here). 

Forgotten Cult Heroes: Mike Cloud

Mike Cloud, Patriot legend…for three games in 2003. I was watching the 2003 Pats Superbowl DVD recently in order to forget about the end to this patriots season. While watching the goal line stand in Indy and the 3 Law INTs of Manning in the AFCCG was awesome, one thing stuck out, Mike Cloud. Mike Cloud was a Cult hero for 3 weeks during this season. He only rushed for 118 yards over 5 appearances for the Pats but scored 5 TDs during that time. Scored 2 vs the Titans while rushing for 73 yards on 7 carries. That was his coming out party. The former BC all american RB also rushed for 2 Tds vs Indy that year too. This fill in back for Injured Antwan Smith and Kevin Faulk was a shooting star that captivated New England for a month and then poof was gone in a flash. Here’s to you Cult Hero Mike Cloud

Comment any Boston Cult Heroes of the last decade or hit me on Twitter: @fozberry64

Foz

Microsoft CEO buys Clippers for $2 BILLION…Yes BILLION

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer absolutely has the money to blow on sports franchises. This much money is unheard of though. $2 Billion bought him the Los Angeles Clippers. The CLIPPERS! 

The Clippers have been relevant and competitive for about 2 years out of their entire existence. The 76ers, a team in a relatively decent size market and a team with a great NBA pedigree, got sold not to long ago for less than $300 million. The rationale behind this amount of money going for arguably the worst sports franchise of all time is cloudy at best. If we are setting the market value of the Clippers at $2 billion dollars than what do historically great and well known franchises go for? By the laws of market economics, the Yankees and Cowboys are priceless now right? The Yankees have had more dynasties than the Clippers have had above .500 seasons and that’s not even an exaggeration. This deal just set up every single owner in sports to be able to make the grossest amount of money possible upon selling the team. It’s a sell high market right now. The Mccourt’s are probably kicking themselves for having to sell the Dodgers so soon before this. Only got $1 Billion from Magic Johnson instead of 2.

Foz

Sidenote: Do you think Sterling even cares about his image at this point? He and his family just made 2$ Billion when if he was selling under normal circumstances, he wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much. He’s going to live in the Maldives for the rest of his miserable life and shove it all in our faces. This whole thing was probably contrived by him in the first place.